Music is a beautiful language which speaks to our souls. Words on the wings of music often break through and affect me much deeper than speech alone. The second verse of a hymn, Beneath the Cross, by Keith Getty teaches, admonishes, and convicts me:
Beneath the cross of Jesus
His family is my own
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams,
Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor
The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus
See the children called by God.
In my earthly family I have one brother and he is older than me. When we were young, we fought like most brothers and sisters. I’m not sure what our fighting was all about, but I do remember Mom being distraught over our behavior and Dad not being pleased. One day when Dad was pretty well fed up with us and the way we were acting, he stood us in front of each other and told my brother to hit me. After an initial look of shock, he said he couldn’t do that. So, Dad told me to hit him. (Thankfully, I said I couldn’t do it either.) Somehow, we both ended up in tears, hugging, and apologizing to each other. Standing in front of Dad made fighting – wrong. It wasn’t the fear of being punished that stopped us from fighting that day. It was the realization that we had disappointed Dad. Dad loved both of us unconditionally and completely. We did not honor his love by fighting with each other.
It isn’t much different in the family of God, is it? Anyone who has been a part of a church or para-church family has experienced the fights and struggles that happen when we walk in the flesh and not in the Spirit. How important it is to ask ourselves if what we are doing is displeasing to God. Even though we may be right in our thinking, we may be wrong in our actions or attitudes. He loves each of us unconditionally and completely and we do not honor Him when we do not honor each other.
As we live our lives, we will need to apologize. We may need to admonish softly and with compassion. We must rejoice with each other, weep with each other, and honor each other. These things please our Heavenly Father!
Take a moment and examine your relationships within your church family. Is there someone to whom you need to apologize? Have you displeased God with your attitudes or actions? Be honest with yourself. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
So let us press on to do what is right and what is pleasing to God, rejoicing that He has called us to the foot of the cross.
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
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